Katie Archibald

“We’re driv­ing to the air­port af­ter a suc­cess­ful rac­ing trip. Morale is high, even if legs are heavy and bums are sore”

Cycling Weekly - - News -

I’m in a peo­ple car­rier filled with peo­ple. All of them cy­clists, who are, in fact, peo­ple too. The ma­jor­ity are sleep­ing. Apart from the driver, for which I am grate­ful. We’re driv­ing to the air­port af­ter a suc­cess­ful rac­ing trip; morale is high in a con­tented sort of way, even if legs are heavy and bums are sore. Which is the po­lite way of ex­press­ing it, be­cause no­body ac­tu­ally sits on their bum while cy­cling, do they? Have you seen how wide my bum is? Have you seen how nar­row my sad­dle is?

The race was the Du­den­hofen GP. We’ve en­joyed two days of out­door track rac­ing with rain only ru­in­ing play for the last event. The pro­gramme in­cluded a UCI class 1 om­nium (class 1 sta­tus is granted when more than five na­tions are present and means lots of World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion points are on of­fer), points race and scratch race. That was un­til all the man­agers came out of the man­agers’ meet­ing and we’d got a Madi­son on the pro­gramme as well. Which seems to be the way women’s Madi­son is de­vel­op­ing: by con­vinc­ing one race or­gan­iser at a time.

They also ran a stand-alone elim­i­na­tion race (AKA the devil take the hind­most). The devil is known more as a com­po­nent of the om­nium than its own race but last year ru­mours were fly­ing that it was to be added to the Tokyo Olympic pro­gramme, sub­stan­ti­ated by the fact it’s been a Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship event for the past two years. Can you imag­ine? Peo­ple ded­i­cate years of their lives to make it to the Olympics — what if they were first to be elim­i­nated?

The devil is the video game of bike races. Most games, like most races, might pe­nalise you for be­ing crap by declar­ing you last place but they let you fin­ish the game with your chums — they let you pre­tend you en­joyed the tak­ing part. But not the devil. In an elim­i­na­tion race you need to be good enough to un­lock the next round or you’re not al­lowed to play any more. Not fast enough? I’m afraid you can’t sit with us. It’s a mean world.

Olympic and world cham­pion, Katie Archibald got into cy­cling af­ter win­ning hand­i­cap races on a High­land Games grass track

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